High hopes despite mass exodus at Barnoldswick Town

Mark Threlfall
Mark Threlfall
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Joint Barnoldswick Town boss Kevin Richardson lamented the club of old, following the mass exodus at the Silentnight Beds Stadium.

Richardson, who governs Town alongside Paul Fildes, spoke of the managerial strains he has endured as he oversees the club’s period of transition.

The departures of Liam Blades, Jack Overson and Lewis and Spencer Jordan to Padiham, Danny Boyle to Northwich Victoria, Danny Morton and Kieran Lee to Clitheroe, Billy Priestley to Ramsbottom United, Michael Cruz to Colne, plus the exits of Shaun Airey, Andy Lee and James Nettleton, have ultimately forced a change of philosophy as the club looks to blood its youth.

“We had a core of good quality players but many of them have gone on to play at a higher level in a short space of time,” said Richardson. “These young lads need game time to gel and learn their trade at this level. You can’t expect miracles.

“We can’t fault the work ethic of the players because they’ve been fantastic but we’re missing that bit of quality, composure and finer details like decision making that comes with inexperience.”

He added: “We’ve lost in the region of 18 first team players in an 18-month period. It’s always hard when there’s change. Over the last few seasons we’d been attracting a good calibre of player because we were doing well.

“But football is like swings and roundabouts because those players have been poached now and moved on. I think the Barnoldswick Town of old would be challenging this year but that’s football so we need to knuckle down and get on with it.”

Town have won just once in six league outings and have only claimed back-to-back victories once all term. Town travel to Cheshire tomorrow to take on NWC Premier Division leaders Runcorn Linnets, but Richardson remains confident ahead of the clash.

“You can see from the results that it’s not going to plan,” he said. “We are just inconsistent and performance levels seem to have dropped. It’s been tough because we’ve got a young squad and we’ve lost a lot of players.

“We are learning to cope with what we’ve got though and starting to build a squad of younger players. Our momentum has been interrupted so it’s been difficult but we’re training hard so fingers crossed we can turn it around.”

Richardson added: “This is what the league is like. There’s no let up. We don’t worry about the opposition though. We’ve always been in games, it’s been a crazy season but in a strange way it’s been enjoyable.

“We’re going through the motions and that shows in our current form. We appreciate the young, raw talent that we have and they respect the club so we’re not a million miles away. We still want to finish top 10 this season.”